Nerd Culture

The 10 Hottest Halloween Costume Trends of 2017

Masks and costume items for sale at a local Spirit Halloween store.
Masks and costume items for sale at a local Spirit Halloween store. Benjamin Leatherman

It’s a question that many people ponder this time of year: What are you going to be for Halloween?

The good news is you’ve got plenty of time to decide, considering that Halloween is a few weeks away. And, even better, there are countless possibilities to choose from when it comes to inspiration.

There are old standbys, like pirates, ninjas, and zombies, as well as always popular options like superheroes (Spider-Man’s pretty big this year due to the new movie) and Star Wars (there’s another movie due out in December).

If all of that is old hat by now, we’ve got a few suggestions that are quite timely and popular, most of which are based off current pop culture trends, blockbuster movies, and television shows.

As we’ve done each year, we’ve scoured social media and the internet for ideas and also consulted with local costume shops (including such Valley favorites as Groovy Ghoulies in Mesa and Easley’s in Phoenix). The result is our annual list of the biggest costume trends of the year.

Check it out and get planning. After all, you'll want to look your best come Halloween weekend.

Fidget Spinners
When it comes to the fads of 2017, the biggest one, by far, has been all those dang fidget spinners. You’ve likely seen ‘em in every single convenience store or being clutched in the hands of bored people everywhere. And come Halloween, there’s a good chance that a few life-sized fidget spinners will be getting down at costume parties or knocking on your front door in search of candy.

If you’d like to be one of ‘em, a few tutorials can found online (including this one and this one) that detail step-by-step instructions on how to build a fully operable spinner costume for less than $50. But don’t be surprised if total strangers try to play with you, particularly if they're drunk.

click to enlarge The stars of GLOW. - COURTESY OF NETFLIX
The stars of GLOW.
Courtesy of Netflix
Professional wrestling’s burgeoning status as a legitimate geeky pursuit got a big shot in the arm this year thanks to the popular Netflix series inspired by the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling from the ‘80s. And like anything having to do with wrestling, it’s a colorful show that embraces its time period with gusto. You can recreate the look of any of its characters – including Ruth "Zoya the Destroya" Wilder, Justine "Scab" Biagi, or Sheila "the She Wolf" – pretty easily with some leotards, makeup, and (naturally) spandex.

David S. Pumpkins
It started out as a one-off skit starting Tom Hanks from Saturday Night Live last fall that was dumb, goofy fun. Then, as such things are wont to do, David S. Pumpkins transformed into a viral thing when people across the internet embraced the character.

Now, it’s become a commodity with no less than four different costumes for sale online and at chain stores like Party City and Halloween Spirit. Word even has it that SNL is bringing back the character in the near future. In other words, it's pretty much guaranteed that David S. Pumpkins doppelgangers will be a part of Halloween parties everywhere this year (with or without his dancing skeletons). Any questions?

click to enlarge The small screen version of The Defenders. - COURTESY OF NETFLIX
The small screen version of The Defenders.
Courtesy of Netflix
The Defenders
They may not have the blockbuster status and cinematic pedigree of The Avengers, but the super-powered stars of Netflix comic book-inspired series The Defenders are still wildly popular. As is the show itself, which debuted in August to rave reviews from critics. And if you and your crew want to dress as the ensemble (which includes Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Daredevil, and, um, that other guy) as part of the group costume, the good news is that their get-ups are basically ordinary clothes. As for deciding which one of you will be unlucky enough to portray Iron Fist, we’ll leave that up to y’all.

click to enlarge Emilia Clarke in season seven in Game of Thrones. - HELEN SLOAN/COURTESY OF HBO
Emilia Clarke in season seven in Game of Thrones.
Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones
has not only become one of the biggest TV shows in history, it’s also a major cottage industry come Halloween season. “A lot of people come in looking for stuff for Game of Thrones costumes,” says an employee of Groovy Ghoulies in Mesa.

In addition to all the officially licensed items available, there are also tons of medieval gear and accessories that can be found at any and every Halloween store, including knock-off items and apparel that’s clearly inspired by the show. Hell, you could also do what the show’s costume designer have done and repurpose some rugs from IKEA for an authentic-looking cape.

But if you’d like to go as the deliciously evil Olenna Tyrell (a popular choice, considering her now-famous quip “Tell Cersei, I want her to know it was me”), you’ll either have to sew one yourself or scour Etsy.
click to enlarge Stranger Things costuming items at a local Spirit Halloween store. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Stranger Things costuming items at a local Spirit Halloween store.
Benjamin Leatherman
Stranger Things
The hullabaloo over Stranger Things is about to get even bigger over the next few weeks. The second season of the phenomenally popular Netflix program fittingly debuts just a few days before Halloween on October 27, and – according to its producer – things are only going to get stranger.

While that’s good news for fans, who have awaited the show’s return in earnest, it doesn’t allow much time to create any potential Halloween costumes referencing the new season. If that happens to be you, consider going with something from the epic first season, be it the Eggo-loving Eleven, Chief of Police Jim Hopper, or any of the kids. There are a variety of accessories and costuming items available at local costume shops like Groovy Ghoulies in Mesa or Easley’s in Central Phoenix, not to mention all the Spirit Halloween stores, to assist you.

Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise from It. - BROOKE PALMER/WARNER BROS.
Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise from It.
Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros.
Evil and insidious clowns have typically been a big hit during the scary season. In recent years, we’ve encountered such dastardly jesters as Twisty from American Horror Story, various versions of The Joker, and Captain Spaulding from House of 1000 Corpses. And then there’s Pennywise from It, who’s downright inescapable at the moment due to the success of the recently released remake.

As you’d expect, costume retailer are selling Pennywise costumes like mad, including both Tim Curry’s O.G. incarnation from the 1990 miniseries and Bill Skarsgård's frillier version currently seen in cinemas. Both are fantastically frightening.

Kyle MacLachlan and Al Strobel from the latest Twin Peaks season. - SUZANNE TENNER/SHOWTIME
Kyle MacLachlan and Al Strobel from the latest Twin Peaks season.
Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME
Twin Peaks
The odd and off-kilter nature of Twin Peaks makes it an easy choice, especially for anyone who’s a fan of the much-beloved original show or the long-awaited continuation. Like with It, you could go old-school or new-school.

If you're into the former, consider dressing as Sheriff Harry S. Truman, the original incarnation of the Log Lady, The Man from Another Place, or even the corpse of Laura Palmer (complete with plastic wrap and pale makeup). If you’re more into the new series, there are such options as Dougie Jones, Dr. Lawrence Jacoby, Diane, or (of course) Agent Cooper. You could also consider doing Candie and the Casino Girls with your gal-pals or The Woodsmen if you’ve got a few duders.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
Clay Enos/Warner Bros. and Ratpac Entertainment
Wonder Woman
Millions of folks flocked to cinemas this summer to see Wonder Woman on the big screen, smashing box office records and the glass ceiling in the process. The adventures of Diana Prince raked in $410 million domestically, making her the undisputed champ of comic book movies in 2017. Thanks to both of these facts, plus the legendary status of the character as a pop cultural icon, Wonder Woman costumes are expected to be phenomenally popular during Halloween among women and girls alike (and maybe even a few dudes, too).

Given that the character is going to be featured in the upcoming Justice League flick, there's a chance you might see her rolling with Batman, Superman, The Flash, and Aquaman in various group costumes as well.

Rick and Morty will be everywhere during Halloween. - COURTESY OF ADULT SWIM
Rick and Morty will be everywhere during Halloween.
Courtesy of Adult Swim
Rick and Morty
Adult Swim’s hit Rick and Morty Planet Musicis subversive, hilarious, nihilistic as hell, and occasionally pretty gross. It also was arguably one the biggest television shows of the summer, animated or otherwise. As such, expect to encounter plenty of characters from the show this Halloween season, including Summer, Beth, Mr. Meeseeks, Mr. Poopybutthole, and the gigantic Cromulons heads behind Planet Music.

Oh yeah, you also might run into any number of different Ricks and Mortys, owing to the infinite possibilities of the show’s multiverse shtick. Just off the top of our heads, there’s Doofus Rick, Hipster Morty, Junk Yard Rick, Karate Morty, Rick D. Sanchez III, and maybe even Pickle Rick. Or you could use your imagination and come up with something original.

Show us what you've got.

Other Ideas
If none of these suggestions are to your liking, you also could consider going as the human version of that gaudy Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks, the ass-kicking femme fatale from Atomic Blonde, or even characters from either the television remake of Westworld or that live action Beauty and the Beast film. The choice is up to you.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.